• 09/13/2011, 05:15PM ET

'08 NFL Draft revisited: Is Matt Ryan better than Joe Flacco?

baron. (28-12-2) vs PatsFan21 (67-42-11)

Absolutely not.

Let's look at the stats:


61.9 CMP%
217.3 YPG
7.2 Y/A
63 TDs (4.4 TD%)
34 INTs (2.4 INT%)
88.5 QB rating


60.9 CMP%
225.7 YPG
6.9 Y/A
66 TDs (4.4 TD%)
35 INTs (2.3 INT%)
86.6 QB rating

Ryan wins 3 of the categories by slim margins (TDs, INT%, and YPG) despite playing on the team with the better skill position players and a better offensive line. White can be one of the top 5 WRs, Turner has had top 3 rushing yards in 2 of the past 3 seasons, a consistent tight end in Gonzalez, and an offensive line that allowed 23 sacks. Only two QBs who played all 16 games were sacked less (both Mannings).

While Flacco has benefited from having the superior defense it balances out with what Ryan gets on offense. And Atlanta hasn't been awful defensively. They've ranked 5th, 11th, and 14th in points allowed for Ryan's career.

I'd also like to point out each guys respective postseason success (in Ryan's case lack of - 0-2). While neither has lit it up, Joe has found ways to win in a far tougher conference (4-3 in his 3 years). A win is a win...especially in the playoffs.

So why exactly is Ryan better?

Matt Ryan doesn't have big numbers. He doesn't scream All-Pro QB.

But what Matt Ryan does have is natural leadership ability, polish, and he's clutch.

Ryan is one of the most clutch QB's in all of football. He earned the nickname "Matty Ice" for his ability to lead late comeback drives. He is extremley calm, cool, and collected under pressure which is something Flacco is not. Flacco struggles under pressure and makes bad decisions, which is the exact reason he has struggled against the Steelers in the past.

Ryan performs well against the blitz and making split second decisions, separating him from Flacco. Flacco may have a bigger arm than Ryan, but Ryan is much more accurate. He has fantastic accuracy and is only getting better.

In a Franchise QB, you need someone who has great leadership abilities for team success.
Example A: The Saints, Brees is a leader and the Saints do well because of it.

Example B: The Chargers, Philip Rivers is a dick, why do you think the Chargers choke every year?

I'm not saying Flacco doesn't have it but Ryan excels at it. Ryan leads his team very well.

Overall, neither is a fantastic QB, but Ryan rates slightly ahead of Flacco.

Ryan is one of the most clutch QB's in all of football.


How many clutch QBs haven't won a playoff game? How many get blown out by 27 in their own building? While Ryan has led some nice GW drives (8 to 4 for Flacco) that shouldn't be the end of the argument.

Consider that MR plays at least NINE games in a climate controlled dome (8 home - 1 NO) behind one of the best OL, flanked by an All Pro receiver, an All Pro RB, and a HoF TE. And he still isn't considerably better than Flacco anywhere.

Ryan is much more accurate


Ryan has not been more accurate last year, or for his career. And that's with Atlanta throwing short safe passes (Falcons were 2nd to last in plays over 20 yards last season) IN A DOME! In 82 more pass attempts MR threw for 83 more yards...not impressive.

Flacco plays in harsh conditions with a revolving door offensive line that only Jay Cutler would envy (2nd most sacks - 40). He's also never had the amount of talent Ryan has at his disposal. Flacco has done more with less, taken his team further in a tougher conference, and has quietly become the better QB.

Big deal he plays in a dome, it doesn't make that much of a difference.

Tony Gonzalez is an HOF TE, but he has never been at a high level in Atlanta. He has deteriorated a lot. And Turner had one really great year but is an overrated back.

Let's not sell Flacco's weapons short. He has had Derrick Mason, Anquan Boldin, and a very good TE in Heap. And he has a top 4 RB in Rice.

Passing yards are not a product of accuracy. Ryan is not a big stat quarterback, he is a game manager who makes smart decisions and doesn't turn the ball over. He leads his team in a way few quarterbacks do. He has the arm to get the job done and the will to make sure it is done.

Flacco has been extremley lucky that he barely has to throw the ball. Rice can carry 25+ times a game and he had McGahee.

Flacco has not had a poor O-Line. He has had All-Pros like Ogden and Birk playing for him. A knock on Flacco is he takes too long to throw the ball and panics under pressure. Ryan is the exact opposite. In the playoffs you need a QB who can respond to pressure well. Ryan's whole team fell apart to the eventually SB champs. Flacco plays for a better team and hasn't been able to lead them there.

Big deal he plays in a dome

Yeah, no big deal. Ryan doesn't have to deal with wind, rain, or snow for MORE THAN HALF HIS GAMES. Let's just not consider that at all...

He has deteriorated a lot

He's still top 10 at his position. Last season he was 10th in receiving yards among TE's, and he's always been a reliable target. I'm not sure how overrated Turner is when he's busy running for 90+ yards per game, and adding 39 TDs in 3 seasons. That's great production.

Flacco has not had a poor O-Line.


Birk has never been an All Pro, and hasn't made a Pro Bowl in his time with Baltimore. While Ogden retired before Flacco was even drafted...
You say Rice can carry 25+ times a game, but that's never happened in his career. Mason was an All Pro over a decade ago as a ST player. And last year Flacco threw over 30 passes per game. That doesn't sound like he "barely throws".

While Flacco hasn't lead his team to a SB he's found a way to win in the postseason. How about Matty Ice?

Remember this play:

Losing (beatdown) to the 6th seed at home...that's clutch.

Good TD.

I have a question for you.

What exactly is Flacco great at?

He doesn't have great accuracy. His arm strength is good but not great. He isn't a great leader. He is subpar under pressure. He isn't clutch. He doesn't put up big stats. He doesn't win even though he is one of the most talented teams in football. He doesn't read defenses super well. What exactly is Flacco great at?

We know for a fact Ryan leads his team like few can. And we know the importance of great leadership. As I mentioned earlier, great leaders at QB can take teams farther than good QBs who aren't good leaders.

Again, look at the Saints. Drew Brees= Great Leader. Saints won a title because of him.
The Chargers have the biggest **** in the league at QB- Philip Rivers. Why do you think they never win?

So Ryan excels in leadership. He also has good accuracy and manages the game well. He doesn't make many mistakes on the field and gets the job done. He's not flashy, but he's consistent and solid.

Finally, he's super clutch. In the fourth quarter of a playoff game do you want Ryan or Flacco. You'd be foolish to pick Flacco.

It boils down to Ryan is better at more things than Flacco.
Good TD

September 13, 2011  05:20 PM ET

Ryan is better than Flacco. And it isn't close.

September 13, 2011  05:21 PM ET

Ryan is better than Flacco. And it isn't close.

Stats say otherwise. Those numbers are almost identical

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September 13, 2011  05:25 PM ET

Interesting... Should be a good debate!

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September 13, 2011  05:49 PM ET

Stats say otherwise. Those numbers are almost identical

And they both choke in the playoffs.

September 13, 2011  05:53 PM ET

Matt Ryan.

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September 13, 2011  06:10 PM ET

Was Josh Freeman in that draft or the year after? I'd take him over both of those goons.

I don't understand where the hype for josh freeman comes from.

September 13, 2011  06:17 PM ET

I'm not a big fan of either of these guys, but it's just ridiculous how people downgrade Flacco and give Ryan the nod as elite. What's the deal?

I could not agree more, i went on a rant with my friends about the same thing. The love for Matt Ryan by announcers and football personalities is ridiculous and unwarranted.

September 13, 2011  06:18 PM ET

Who's that?

The guy who ruins Green Bays chance at a perfect season.

September 13, 2011  06:18 PM ET

baron starts out with a pretty good 1st argument in my opinion.

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September 13, 2011  06:25 PM ET

I never got the hype around Ryan, he's a solid game managing Quarterback, I've thought that from the start, but I don't get why people are jumping to anoint him a top 5 QB.

Flacco has done more with less than Ryan. Not saying Flacco has nothing, but Ryan has way more weapons around him.

September 13, 2011  06:31 PM ET

I never got the hype around Ryan, he's a solid game managing Quarterback, I've thought that from the start, but I don't get why people are jumping to anoint him a top 5 QB.Flacco has done more with less than Ryan. Not saying Flacco has nothing, but Ryan has way more weapons around him.

I don't watch as much football as you guys but I always thought of them as similar and I think they're both but not great QB's. I think when people see the Ravens they think of the great D and tend to dismiss the entire offense. Ray Rice is a helluva player though

September 13, 2011  06:38 PM ET



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